INTERVIEW: Zane Rosanoski (MAMMAL)
You and me baby ain't nothing but mammals, and fortunately for us all Melbourne rock lords Mammal have officially returned from the dead to spread rock, funk and all of the noise to our undeserving ears with some brand new music and a tour about to kick off.
Exploding into the world in 2006 with a whirlwind of intensity and exhilarating live energy, Mammal swiftly took ears and airwaves by storm, earning near unanimous praise and coveted live spots between 2006 and 2009, including storming Big Day Out stages nationally, opening for KISS in Brisbane, and slaying sold-out shows across London, Manchester and Glasgow.
In yet another example of an Aussie icon cut down in their prime, the good times came to an end in 2009 after a seemingly perfect run, but clearly the music gods are feeling generous these days, with a whole contingency of beloved Aussie bands recently rising from the ashes (thank you, The Butterfly Effect and Cog). Now Mammal have thrown their thumping hats into the reunion ring - and hot damn, it's as if they never left.
Armed with new tunes ('Community' and 'Virtue Signalling'), a music video and a heap of tour dates all over the country, things are about to get pretty crazy for the Mammal lads in 2018. But before they take their roaring tunes on the road, The Soundcheck had a chat with Mammal beat-man Zane Rosanoski about reunion love, memory lane, and what not to do if you're currently afflicted with a dreaded cold or flu. Interview below.
TIANA SPETER: Hey Zane, how's your day going so far?
ZANE ROSANOSKI: I'm coming down with something, hey, like a flu coming on or something? And last night my wife got some of this Vitamin C powder...and I overdosed on it (laughs). I had like five times the dosage and uh, yeah...it came straight out.
TIANA: I was about to ask if you might have any tips because I feel like I've been coming down with something all week...but now I'm definitely not taking your health advice.
ZANE: Yeah, don't do it, aye. Seriously. Don't take it.
TIANA: Well I hope you are feeling much better very soon. But on a brighter topic...there were all these rumours that Mammal were sneaking back after your reunion shows last year, but now we know for sure, Mammal is OFFICIALLY back. And after so many years, we've been gifted with new music, a new video - and as if that wasn't enough, you guys have obviously announced this huge upcoming tour as well. And it's so goddamn delightful for us...but how is everything going in the Mammal world right now? Apart from your flu....
ZANE: Things in the Mammal world are really good. This is our second shot, kind of thing, there's been eight years in between us splitting up and us reforming. And, you know, I think we've all matured over the time...everyone's sorted their stuff out, we're all positive. And musically - we're playing better than ever! It's so good.
TIANA: Last year when you guys did those first few reunion shows, there was such an insanely positive reaction...but was the new music already on the cards by that point? Or did the new material get sparked by the reaction to those shows?
ZANE: Totally, we just wanted to play one show just to see how it felt. We didn't get to play our farewell show back in the day, and it was kinda like "now is the right time to do it". And it was purely that we were just going to play that one show and just see how it felt - but I remember that gig in Melbourne, that first gig...it was ridiculous. The love in that room was so intense! I'd planned to just sort of walk out and take it seriously and be like "we're back". But! You could just feel from all of us, everyone in the room were just beaming and smiling. I couldn't resist, I just started laughing when we walked on, it was so good! But there weren't any new songs at that point.
TIANA: Speaking of the new stuff, very recently you guys released 'Community' and 'Virtue Signalling', both of which are undeniably vintage Mammal, it's almost like no time has passed in between then and now. But did you guys feel any excessive expectation on the new material, or did you just do you thing and it just so happened to result in you guys being at your usual ass-kicking best?
ZANE: We didn't plan, you know? We just write music and play together and I think our four energies when they combine, they just create that sound, which is heavy and definitely grooving!
TIANA: It's such a fun time. Now it has obviously been a bit of time between then and now, and some pretty public statements that a Mammal reunion would never actually happen...was there a specific moment when you guys were like "oh, shit! This is actually back on!"...or did it just happen gradually over the years?
ZANE: Ohhh....it's such a good question. It left a hole. Personally for me when we split up there was this massive void inside of me, and I'm sure with the rest of the guys too. Like, in four years we'd gone from the beginning to...um...
TIANA: Zero to 110?
ZANE: Yeah! It was wicked, and then I think because it happened so fast it just imploded on itself. It didn't feel natural, you know? It was such a big part of our lives and then it was missing. And we definitely had it in the back of our minds, surely. We hadn't talked about that, but I'm sure we all kind of did. And then it took eight years for us to have that first beer (laughs). And it was only gonna be a beer as well, you know, just go out and have a chat. But being musicians, it didn't take long before we started to talk about music and...let's play another show together!
TIANA: And the rest was history!
ZANE: Yeah! It feels so good at the moment. Everything's running smoothly and the tunes are coming along, and we all feel like we're just better players now. It's just awesome, good times!
TIANA: Well I think we're all very grateful too that beer that evolved into this. And also a result of that, Mammal is about to embark on a mammoth tour starting in June, alongside some pretty awesome locals. Clearly you guys are killing it vibe-wise with each other...but are you all feeling gig fit?
ZANE: Um....I have to....(laughs). No. I smoke too much and I like a drink...
TIANA: That's so unusual for a musician!
ZANE: (laughs) I have to really work on my fitness. I go to the gym which keeps me fit, but drumming's completely an aerobic sort of thing. So, nightly I have to have my hour, or a complete length of a gig to play for that long just to get me in the zone. But it's the funny thing with Mammal...once the four of us walk onstage, it's just like a vibe, we just go into the zone and we just all know the zone and it just fires! It just naturally comes out.
TIANA: On the note of live shows, you guys played some huge shows in a very short space of time all those years ago. Was there a particular standout performance for you personally, whether it was dramatically good, or just memorable in general?
ZANE: It would've been Sydney Big Day Out for sure! That was - I don't know how many thousands of people were there - but it was like the childhood dream coming to fruition. I'd dreamt about that moment since I was a kid! And just to walk out and live it?! And we all played well and there were the Mammal t-shirts in the front row. We were firing on all cylinders, and yeah....that was the one. That was the standout for sure!
MAMMAL SHREDDING SYDNEY AT THE 2009 BIG DAY OUT FESTIVAL
TIANA: Good old Big Day Out! Those were the days.
ZANE: I know! It sucks, aye.
TIANA: We're slowly creeping some good festivals back in, so hopefully there will be more of that kind of stuff for you guys in the very near future! Now to briefly get to know more about the man behind the Mammal beats...I've read about you as being able to be described with one phrase: "beast-mode". Off the back of that, what kind of music did you grow up listening to, was it always this heavier kind of stuff?
ZANE: It's always been heavy stuff. My older brother, he kind of got me into it. The first album was 'Kill 'Em All' by Metallica, and then after that it was 'And Justice For All'. It was Lars (Lars Ulrich - Metallica drummer). Lars was the man! People bag that guy out, but he's a pioneer of the metal drumming world, man! (laughs) And, obviously since then my listening has expanded. But all the heavy stuff, all the thrash metal, the Megadeaths and Panteras.
TIANA: Is it a fair go when Mammal hit the road, do you all play your own stuff, or do you annoy each other with shared musical tastes?
ZANE: (laughs) Well, I'll say this. We all have headphones...
TIANA: Smart. Very smart. And I know it's early days in phase two of Mammal because obviously the new tunes are only just kicking around...but do you have a bucket list band or bands that you'd like to tour with?
ZANE: I know I'd like to tick off Donington Festival, which is now Download in the UK. I'd like to tick that off my list, cos that's definitely the childhood dream to play at Donington. I think Pantera played there as a kid and I was like "maaaaaaan!".
TIANA: Seriously, when I spied UK Download line-up for this year I legit actually cried because I wasn't going. One day. One day, soon.
ZANE: You're into the heavier stuff, yeah? What, like Mastodon...?
TIANA: Yeah, I just recently missed seeing Mastodon and Gojira because I was traveling, but I love them, I love me some Patton, Sepultura, Meshuggah...
ZANE: Meshuggah, man! Actually that would be one band. I don't think we'd match (laughs)...we wouldn't be suited to sharing the stage with Meshuggah, but I would like to stand side of stage and watch Thomas Haake do his thing! (laughs).
TIANA: Yes. I'll vote for that lineup, then I can catch both of you live at once.
ZANE: (laughs) Meshuggah and Mammal. Oh my god (laughs).
TIANA: It's got some nice alliteration to it. I'm totally onboard. Well thank you so much for your time Zane, and can't wait to catch Mammal back in business when you start whipping us all into a frenzy starting next month! And maybe lay off the Vitamin C....
ZANE: (laughs) Thanks so much, Tiana! Catch you then!
MAMMAL ARE HITTING THE ROAD WITH SOME BRAND NEW TUNES IN JUNE.
FOR MORE MAMMAL INFO, CHECK OUT:
BY TIANA SPETER